VALEN; HVOSLEF; EGGE Trios
Fartein Valen began planning a trio in 1912 but only began serious work on it in 1917. Progress, as often for him, was painfully slow as within its modest frame he was starting to work out his ‘new counterpoint’, which would come eventually to embrace atonality, though this trio merely edges in that direction. This newcomer is not its first recording but is the equal of that on the old Norsk Phonogram LP from the 1960s.
Whereas Valen looked first to the music of Reger and then Schoenberg for practical guidance, Klaus Egge – a pupil of Valen – remained within a more traditional tonal idiom but without the trappings of late Romanticism or neo-classicism, and embracing, as controversially as Valen’s atonality, an explicitly nationalist aesthetic. The music of his four-movement Piano Trio (1940) seems to have started out as a wind quintet but the trio provided a more apposite severity of texture, given the timing of its creation in occupied Norway.
Ketil Hvoslef’s single-span Trio (2010) is a typical example of his maverick approach to genres and titles, the result being a very different, more meditative work than Valen’s and Egge’s. It is also the work written explicitly for the relatively young Valen Trio, Hvoslef moved to do so by their performance of Tchaikovsky’s A minor. The players’ ensemble and intonation are flawless and their understanding of each other and the repertoire highly impressive. LAWO’s sound is crystal clear and very natural.